Rip Van Winkles 1927 TCoupe on 32 style rails!
A friend of mine suggested I open one of these build pages so people whom are following My Sleepy T project can interact with me if they want to. Not that I am a hermit or nothing but occasionally I don't have a darn thing to say so be patient with my updates.
Now a bit or history. The is the the culmination of two distinct projects that morphed into one. I started this project with a late 1923 TCoupe. the plan was to build a stock full fendered coupe powered by a small block FORD.
As I was getting started I finished a rolling chassis for it and was ready to start mounting the body, when I started asking myself if this was a good direction for this car. My main concern was how would the body stand up to large quantites of Power. I know with a wood body structure in 23 and 24 I think I was just asking for trouble to use that body. I didn't want to have to constantly re align body panels etc. At that point I put the 23 on hold.
I still had these plans and I had a chassis and running gear. Well last year I found a good deal on a titled 27TCoupe body and included were a pair of supposed 32 style rails tacked together with a half built x member. The person I got this from was wanting to use the rails under the coupe but never got any farther than stuffing the rails in the back of the coupe and realizing the frame needed to change a lot.
So The War Dept has green lighted the project with a few boundries so I am trying to at least get the chassis to a roller stage this spring and then the real work begins on all of the sld's.
All of the details on the build are going into my journal So you can follow the journal and get the latest details and if you have anything to say give a shout here. Oh one more thing, Comments are appreciated but remember what you may do in any situation is just that your opinion and does not necessarily mirror mine. Inflamitory remarks will be ignored! Thank you fellow members and here we go...
Well I am working on getting ready to fit the body on the 32 frame rails. I made a template of the bottom of the T body out of Styrofoam. After fitting the template to my frame I determined I need to add one half of a inch of width to my rails in the rear and the frame. will then be the correct dimensions.
It is amazing how one little thing can change a plan so easily. I had initially decided I was going to change the frame rails in the rear to fit under the T body so no major hacking would be needed on the body sub rails. Ahhhh but the unseen damage I found in the body aft part of the sub frame in extensive. I started looking at the patch panels put on by one of the previous owners and saw nothing but a hack job. The panels were layed over rusted rotted old panels. No attempt had been made to clean up the cancer or even fit the patches correctly on the bottom of the body. So I needed to cut the old patch panels away. What I found shocked me!! the rear body sub frame was severely compromised by corrosion and rotted sections of the sub frame. it was so bad I was able to push a hole in the side of the sub frame with my finger!!! NOT GOOD.
So after a lot of looking measuring and contemplating and thinking I decided that I am going to cut out the bad sub frame, fit the body on the the 32 rails and rebuild a new sub frame that actually fits the contour of the 32 rails. This is going to be complicated as I need to build a sub frame that will tie into the existing sub frame. The T coupe sub frame is a wierd shape I can't even describe, but suffice it to say it is NOT even close to the model A sub frame. It is going to take a bit of doing but I think I can pull it off. Lets hope so.
The photos attached show the main damage and 1 picture of the passengers front cowl shows my template under the body and the fit along the cowl is perfect but the rear fit needs adjustment.
Now I am also looking for the best way to protect some of the sub frame steel that is rust pitted but still useable. I am thinking of using Por-15 after I clean and de rust the metal to seal it up. I also thought maybe zinc chromate might be good as it would slow corrosion. If anyone has any suggestions as to what would be the best way to proceed let me know.
Hot damn, those are one of my favorite bodies and you are building it just as I like them, very cool!
Here I am again.
I finished hacking the bad sub frame from under the coupe. after getting it removed I cut a couple of cross sections out of the bad part and set down with my calipers and made me a drawing of the shape and size of the frame. The T frame is rather odd looking with un equil sides and a slight lean in of the outside rail. The sub frame also has at least 2 different widths. The basic frame has areas where it is narrower than the rest. This unique sizing and shape is going to be a real pain in the rear.
I have been looking for some time to locate a drawing on the sub frame with rail dimensions but had been unable to find anything on line. So while measuring this thing I put together a crude drawing showing the different dimensions of the small and large cross sections.
I thought I would share my drawing with the members just in case someone wanted to know these dimensions. just remember I am not an artist or draftsman.
If anyone has any ideas on how I should proceed with building the new rear section speak up. I have several rough ideas but nothing I have settled on just yet. I am going to build that section after the body is fit to the 32 frame. Ahhh the fun.
Rip, I see we do have about the same work to do!
What part of the rear sub-frame are you trying to rebuild? The rear cross member, or the rear part of the sides. If you post a picture of what your trying to fix, I maybe able to help you out. I made a new rear sub-frame cross member, and I am going to be cutting the sub-frame sides, from the front of the wheel wells, to the back off mine, and I'm not going to reuse them. The very ends need to be fixed, about 2-3".
The literal answer is everything from 4 to 6 inches aft from the door rear edge all the way around to the other door. The rear cross member was nothing but a thin pile of dust. The rear center panel was thinner than notebook paper and had more holes than a block of Swiss cheese!
I am awaiting a delivery next Tues of a New rear center panel, a new rear cross member
2 rear corners, a pair of inner wheel wells and two lower 1/4 patch panels.
I was looking trying to make a decision as to how I wanted the 32 rails to look and got inspired as too how a guy did an A on 32 rails and he gave me the idea to change the body and not the frame.
I have the material for the new sub frame on order and it should be here next week too. The plan on the sub frame is to set and position the body with the rear stuff removed onto the 32 rails and rebuild the sub rail after the body is properly positioned and braced. The new sub rail is simple as possible. I am using some 1 X 2.5 0.087 rectangular steel tubing CREWR.
I was inspired when I found some examples of how that material was grafted into the T sub rails and it is a great fit. Also it keeps lost space at a minimum and because this thing needs floors front to back it makes that part easy. I will form this material over the 32 frame rails by the old pie and slice method. I will meet it up with the new rear cross member in the stock location.
Doing it this way, I get to keep the stock 32 frame look from the side! I have looked at a ton of Tcoups on 32 rails and the majority seem to modify the rear frame rails rather than making the Body set correctly on the frame. Finding this coups sub frame in such non existing condition it just made sense to re do it to fit the rails.
I got a scribbled drawing somewhere around here that shows the concept. Let me dig about and see if I can find it and I will post it. The rear of the 32 frame will only run about 10 inches past of the axle center line as it starts to look out of place after that.
All in all I think this will also be less labor intensive than chopping and bending the frame rails. :cool:
This is my concept drawing showing how I purpose to fit the body to the frame rails. This should show you how I plan to fit the rear of the body over the rails. Not a draftsman quality but workable drawing.
More work more problems.
I am making progress but at a cost! Each step forward finds a new problem to contend with.
That last problem was calculating ride height as I did not know how much the front end would squat when the car is finished. I posted the problem and I had been told by several people to allow 2.5" for squat. I posed the problem here and a lot of people thought 2.5 was too much. They were suggesting I be more conservative so after thinking about this I decided to go 1.5" instead of 2.5" distance. I figured I was close enough that the change of 1" +- would not affect the rake angle of the frame enough to require recalculation of the cross member angle. This cross member like most made today have the 7 degree castor angle incorporated.
I had a visitor at the shop yesterday and I put him to work!! I used to work with this guy and at one time he was my supervisor. now it was my turn to give the orders. I made him my gopher, My light holder, my human clamp and welding assistant.
Yesterdays task was to break down the temporary setup for the frame and re set the rails using my new figures. I tacked the rails to my uprights on the frame bench and have them ready to install the body on the rails so the body sub frame can be rebuilt and the frame can be positioned to fit the body width before cross members are installed. The uprights are setting on plates clamped to the frame bench so I can slide the rails left and right after positioning the body on them.
A potential problem has surfaced on these frame rails in that when they are set for the body width and if there is no significant adjustments made in width the front rails have to much pinch and is to narrow at the front cross msmber. It looks like a pie cut is going to be needed at the cowl point to spread the front rails.. Oh joy !!!
A last note here about shipping things! I got my order from Howell's yesterday and I was very disappointed with UPS shipping. I picked up the package from my front porch after the ups person just dropped the box on delivery. First look showed damage to the box like crushed end,holes punched in it and I was starting to worry my sheet metal parts were going to be damaged. I photographed the box and damaged areas and then pulled the parts out and started checking them for damage. Well Howell's packed the parts carefully and I did not find any damage to any of the parts. I also noted the stuff was of real good quality.
I am pleased with Howell's quality. I am not pleased with UPS. If it isn't the drivers running over the flower beds, and its drivers doing burnouts in the gravel of my driveway they are banging my shipments up all the time.
I think people should start complaining to shippers that damage packages even if there is no internal damage. There is no excuse for damage to packaging in my opinion.
Ok back out to the shop and get the body ready to lift.
Parts look good, my parts were good quality from them also. One thing I found out, before I ordered my parts from them. Is to buy their parts, from their ebay store. No back orders, and the cost is cheaper then from their online store. I know you didn't want to hear that. I will be making another order to them soon.
Yeah TCoupe I should have that time and will next time. I still need a ton of little things and a few big ones and I am about saving some bucks.
Moved the TCoup today. I have the frame all set at ride height and what I figured to be correct dimensions using my template I made.
I had my “Human Forklift” come over this morning. He is my go to guy when I need heavy lifting done. So with the cherry picker, an engine removal equalization bar, and 4 ratchet straps we set about to move the body over and set it on the frame for some finalization adjustments before the chassis is locked down for cross members and brackets.
The first glance at the body setting on the frame it looks good. I spent a bit of time just looking at it. I had made marks on the frame for reference so when the body was set I would know real quickly where the firewall was on the frame for measurements. We set the fire wall Spot on 32” aft of the axle C/L.
Frame width looked good in the front but real hard to judge in the rear because body metal is gone. I set a patch panel in place and I am close there.
Of course when you are moving forward things seem to work against you to slow progress. That problem cropped up when I was looking at the wheel well. It seems that when I use the stock dimensions 32” aft of axle C/L it puts the rear wheel well to far forward in relation to the frame rise. If I set the body 34” aft things look better in the rear but the front of the body looks odd in relation to the frame reveal. It is kind of hard to explain what I mean so I enclosed a couple of edited pictures.
So I can leave the firewall at 32 and modify the rear of the frame so I have correct axle travel but I am reluctant to do that big of a change to the rail. After all I did the body mods so the frame could remain UN hacked.
I can move the fire wall 2 inches back and set it at 34 to make the frame match better in the real but then the body seems to far back from the reveal..
Oh what is a person to do? I am open to suggestions what would you do in this situation? Feedback appreciated!!
Hey anyone have any ideas as to how i should proceed with this body positioning problem I have? Anyone, Someone, Hellllllllllpppppp
I would set the front axle to the firewall distance the way you want it (tapered front frame would show modifications) and make any frame modifications in the rear wheelwell area (hidden behind the rear tire/less scrutinized).
Thanks for your comments. Yep I decided to keep my measurements right where they should be in front and work the rear as a separate issue. In fact I have the rear problem figured out and finally made a commitment to a rear suspension setup.
The rear suspension will be a parallel 4 link on the inside of the frame rails. The airbags are history and I will use adjustable coil overs. I haven't decided which centering method to use on the rear end. The method I will use will be either a standard pan hard bar or a Watts Link. I am really leaning towards the watts just because I like the look of the exposed parts of a watts.
Oh yeah the frame will be modified in the rear to allow setting the rear end housing where it needs to be.
I am currently working on the rear body sub frame. As soon as I get the 1 X 2 1/2 tubing bent up I will pull the body back off and get serious about finishing the frame to roller status. I need to get it that far so that I can move it and the frame rack. I need to get my 23 Tcoupe cleaned up ready to go and sold before the Sleepy T swallows my wallet whole and me with it.
On a last note I am trying to finish my latest update posting on the Sleepy T project. I just need to do some final edits and I will post it here with real untouched photographs and everything!!!!!!
End of April update.
I moved the TCoup body onto the frame for the first time. I have the frame mounted on the frame rack and all set at ride height and what I figured to be correct width dimensions using my template I made.
I had my “Human Forklift” Mr. Stillings come over one morning and be the muscles behind the move. He is my go to guy when I need heavy lifting done. you know strong back weak minded. hahah So with the cherry picker, an engine removal equalization bar, and 4 ratchet straps we set about to move the body over and set it on the frame for some finalization adjustments before the chassis is locked down for cross members and brackets.
The first glance at the body setting on the frame it looks good. I spent a bit of time just looking at it. I had made marks on the frame for reference so when the body was set I would know real quickly where the firewall was on the frame for measurements. We set the fire wall Spot on 32” aft of the axle C/L. That is the stock 32 dimensions.
The frame width looked good in the front but real hard to judge in the rear because body metal was gone. I did set a patch panel in place and I think I am close on the measurements.
Of course when you are moving forward and making progress, things seem to work against you to slow you down. That problem cropped up when I was looking at the rear wheel well.
It seems the rear curve of the frame was in the wrong place in relation to the wheel well. It looked to be some 3” farther to the rear than where calculations said it should have been.
The center of the arch or curve of the frame was farther aft than the Center Point of the wheel well. I rechecked my dimensions in the front and the firewall was spot on the stock dimensions of 32” aft of axle C/L. I had decided to stick with the 32” dimension to allow use of a semi stock hood at some time. It is also a stock dimension for a 32 frame.
So how did I manage to screw up by 4 inches. The answer, Confusion on my part! When figuring the 32 frame I was setting it up according to where the 27 body mounts had to be as a reference. I had to switch between the T sub frame drawings and translate that to locations on the 32 frame. The big thing that slipped through was a simple fact The 2 bodies are different lengths. I missed that fact and for a while I thought I could just move the body back 4 inches but that isn’t going to work!
If you look at a 32 rail from the side with a coupe body on it the firewall starts almost on the reveal in the frame. I have seen bodies on 32 rails set back all different distances. To me the body just looks right setting in the stock position!
So here I am looking at some serious changes in the rear frame area. I have been looking over a million different methods of fixing this wheelbase thing and in my search stumbled upon how to fix this problem a lot easier and leave the body in the correct position.
I have finally settled on a rear suspension. I am going to Adjustable parallel 4 link mounted on the inside of the frame. I tossed out the Airbag idea and will go with Coil Overs instead.
I am hoping the new rear suspension plan going to look good and function even better. Now I just need to finish the new body sub frame.
So after scooting the body all over and finalizing the frame numbers I took this opportunity to set the front cross member in place and tack it in. I set the top of the cross member level and checked the caster. I have 7 degrees of caster in the bottom of the cross member where the spring mounts. I set up this cross member with the frame at the ride rake angle so everything should be the same after assembly.
I stretched my center line from the front cross member to the rear center point and I hit it bang on.
Now that the front cross member is set and tacked in place I can switch up and do the body sub frame.
Ok with all of this work on suspension on temporary hold it was back to the frame and body fitting.
I had already removed a lot of sub frame that was rotted and now it was time to determine where the new sub frame would meet the old and then getting the tubing curved and molded to the rear frame rail. I have made 1 sub frame rail so far and I am not happy with it.
After cutting and welding the tube It just looked like crap. I didn’t make pie cuts but rather a single cut through three sides and just closed the opening and welded it. I ground the welds down and it looks better, but I think am going to use this first one as a pattern to bend the next set of rails in a jig I am building.
My thought is I can bend this 1 X 2.5 .086 box tube with C clamps and my hydraulic press. I have 1 piece of tubing left to set up my jig and I have 2 of the last pieces on order.
I am building a set of pattern blocks to clamp the steel to while I bend it to the required shape. I am building this pattern on the fly so it is not a fast assembly.
So that brings you back up to speed on the project. Right now I am waiting for more sub frame steel to arrive. I knew I should have ordered extra when I ordered the first pieces. Oh well we live and learn.
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